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Phratria

φρατρία, “brotherhood”). A word which denoted among the Greeks the subdivision of a φυλή (q. v.) embracing a number of families. In Attica the four old Ionic phylae contained three phratriae in each, twelve in all; and each phratria comprehended thirty families. (See Gennetae.) When the old phylae were suppressed by Clisthenes, the phratriae remained in existence as religious associations for the observance of the ancient forms of worship, which did not admit of being suppressed. They had, however, no political importance, except that the sons (by birth or adoption) of a citizen had to be enrolled in the register of φράτορες, or members of the phratria of their natural or adoptive father. This was done by the φρατρίαρχοι (presidents) at the chief festival of the phratriae, the Apaturia (q.v.). Newly married husbands also introduced their wives into the phratria. Each phratria had a separate place of worship (φράτριον), with the altars of its deities (Pollux, iii. 52). Zeus and Athené were common to all, but each phratria worshipped other special deities of its own.

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